Thursday, October 28, 2010

What the Holy Books Never Tell You

… people are not so interested in seeing themselves as they really are…they would rather pine for what they think they should be.
Takuin Minamoto

There seem to be new issues arising each day making each day a somewhat uncomfortable time and leaving last week’s or yesterday’s experience old news.
Meanwhile, I’ve not posted anything. I cringe to do so, but I’ll leave a note, as this is what I wrote last week and it still is getting played out in a variety of ways:

I feel like I am being dragged towards an awful conclusion.
As I keep listening to interviews on Buddha at the Gas Pump, there’s a panic rising in me.
There’s a growing suspicion that what I’m calling “stuck in the witness” is what Maharishi called Cosmic Consciousness, or what others call “awake.”

Now, Adya has said he’s never met anyone who wasn’t totally surprised by what they awaken to. And if you listen to the Buddha interviews, several people say just that. “It’s not what you expect!”
So, perhaps I shouldn’t have been all that surprised this morning when as I listened to Andy Shulman describing his awakening I was hit by the thought, “Shit, this is it?!”

I broke into tears of utter disappointment.
I really thought I’d be a better person.
Despite experiencing what “awakened” individuals describe, I have continued to discount the possibility that I am awake because it is so obvious, “I am still so messed up.”

But something about how Andy spoke made it obvious and I just broke into sobs.
Disappointment broke my heart for about a half minute until I had a second thought, “Oh, this is the wrong response!”
As if to highlight the issue - I can’t even respond to the good news in the correct manner.
Sobbing immediately became belly laughter.

I would love to have a map of the spiritual territory; one that draws the line between the counties of Ignorance and Awakened straight and true and definite.
I’d love to have a pushpin I could slowly, deliberately stick in “Here” – right there one step over the line sweet Jesus.
Yeah, well.
There isn’t such a map, so get on with life.

A few hours later I went online to read what Sarojini might have to say. She has several articles posted and I chose at random.
Imagine my surprise as I discovered these words:

Today I would like to take the time to address some things that you may never have heard about which happens upon or after Awakening / Enlightenment / Liberation. These happenings are usually never mentioned in the holy books, or if they are, they are totally ignored…

1.) Awakening or Enlightenment is the last great disappointment of ego. In that non-instant there is the bewildered declaration of: "Are you kidding me!?" followed by utter perplexity that eventually yields to the deepest laughter ever encountered. Most of the "Awake" (or subsequent books about Awakening) discuss the laughter. However, the laughter doesn't come first; at first you will be baffled and will, more than likely, feel slightly let down for a few short moments. …

2.) No one will notice a thing. Your closest friends and family will, more than likely, not see much of a change. You will not glow. Angels will not surround your home. Buddha will not come knocking at your door to welcome you into "the club". You may actually become more annoying to those closest to you…. your loved ones …could care less about your latest discovery (which, to them, is likely to be just another "aha" among a long journey of "aha's" that you've shared with them umpteen times before)…

3.) You will feel emotion like you have never felt before. There is now a quiet, steady center that is constantly present; however, when an emotion comes along, its energetic depth will surprise you. You will realize that without any barriers in place …that these energies are free to go from 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds. And they will… Do not be surprised and, by all means, do not attempt to block this from happening…

These points kind of blew me away, they fit so perfectly.
And now, I just want to stop thinking about the details: just drop it, drop it, drop it. STOP.
But, I am out here in the world and it’s uncomfortable.

Tuesday, in my meditation group I was trying to explain how totally empty my life feels. I have no goals, no interests. It’s a bit amazing that I don’t see this as depression. Rather, I’m just empty. My friends just kind of stared and appeared a bit worried. Eve reached out and touched my hand.
I worry that I’m wasting precious life and time, but I can’t think of anything to do…
even as I shoot off emails to family about micro-hydropower plans, pond construction and yurts, and panning for gold in North Georgia.
I’m happy about new family projects, but this occurs in emptiness that is inescapable.

Which brings me to about an hour ago, when I found the perfect summary… of what?
What I now believe to be a good description of the terrain. Bring in the pushpin! Finally a place to set it.
I want to share these words because they fit so well.
I want to share this link because I want people to know about this part of the path – and I cannot bear to say any more about myself.

This is a blog entry from Gina Lake (a new face to me) wife of the teacher, Nirmala, and a student of Adyashanti. It’s entitled: What Happens After Awakening.
It is concise and right to the point.
Maybe now, I can simply stop and just allow the thoughts to drop.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Stuck in the Witness

Red Cube
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
Bit by bit, if we are sincere, we begin to see each time we fixate. Somewhere, somehow, at some point in time, something in us realizes that our awakening is not complete.

...At first it [witnessing] was wonderful and amazing and transformative and profound. But over time, I started to have this intuition, this little voice that said, “This isn’t the whole thing. This isn’t oneness; this isn’t unity.” The witness was perceived as being totally free of the human being that I imagined myself to be. But the illusion that the witness was different from what was being witnessed remained. For me, as for many people, the next phase of the journey of awakening was the collapse of the witnessing position.

It starts to collapse when we see that if witnessing is different from the witness, then there is an inherent division. Letting yourself see this division is the beginning of the collapse of the external witness.

With that collapse, you can start to see the elements of ego that are using the witnessing position as a way to hide, to not be touched by life, to not feel certain feelings, to not encounter our lives directly and intimately in a gritty, human way.
Adyashanti, The End of Your World

At the retreat last month I asked Adya about being stuck in witnessing.
I have no idea how to implement his “answer” and in fact he said, “I can’t tell you how to do this.”
I have to discover the next step for myself.
So, I am reviewing just a bit some teachings on witnessing.

The more we realize that who we are is totally outside of time, outside of the world, and outside of everything that happens, the more we realize that this same presence is the world----all that is happening and all that exists. It is like two sides of a coin. This experiential awakening is not rare, and no one teaches it to you.**

It seems a part of this process is to simply stop.
No more thoughts, the analysis. No more me-ing. Stop.
And, there is a strong pull to do just that.
But there is also a reactive struggle to pull myself out of that stillness:
To think, just a bit more. To dance and thus avoid the Void, just a moment longer.
So, I read on…

When we are no longer functioning through our conditioning, the sense of “me” is no longer there. What really runs and operates this life is love. ... one will find that “I” am the silence between two thoughts. You are nobody. You are this openness, this presence. You are not a creation of thought, belief or faith. It is free of all identity. It is the uncreated.

And right there it seems is where the getting stuck occurs.
I perceive the openness and presence and yet do not identify it as “me.”
I have been assuming that some thought will arise that recognizes the Vastness as “me.”
But, that may not be true.
Maybe that belief needs to be dropped.
But meanwhile, old habits die hard and I have to ask:

Where am I? What can I identify as “me”?

It seems I do not know. Awareness comes through my eyes. It seems to flow from an unboundedness inside and it looks out through the eyes to see another unboundedness: The World.

I feel like merely a point. Sometimes, I am the toggle point between the two infinites. Sometimes, I occupy an area no bigger than a thumb print rattling around in the vastness. I’ve become no thicker, no more substantial, than the thin inky outline a thumb print leaves upon a blank white page. But, I remain substantial enough to be uncomfortable in the expansiveness. Substantial enough to want to reach out and touch someone, or something, just to kind of steady myself and my individuality for a moment.
And, I am substantial enough to desire to be done with all this. Enough!

Trying to hold on to one’s identities, even if it is the holiest of identities, is like shoving a camel through the eye of a needle. However... Not a shred of self-centred identity can go through, only nothingness can.

A friend told me that this is about unconditional love. Yes!
Adya said I had to learn how to witness from the heart.
I replied my heart would break.
The separation of the witness is intolerable to the heart.

Well, enough said for now.
I’d like to offer another link to Buddha at the Gas Pump and an interview with Takuin Minamoto regarding his spontaneous awakening. His description of a Vastness that has somehow scattered the components of memory and self-identity into such a great space as to render them no longer relevant feels very familiar to me. It is exactly this blowing to the winds that my little mind(?) or ego(?) is attempting to avoid by its refusal to stop. I can feel the larger amount of energy such a “holding things together” requires.
But, what a disaster for an ego – to be simply blown away! So, for now it holds on
… even as the heart is breaking to go Home.

** While I originally thought these and the remaining quotes below were Adya’s words, I think these are actually the words of an essay by Dr Tan Kheng Khoo describing Adya’s teachings. But they are so close, it is hard for me to tell.

Redemption Song

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
'Cause none of them can stop the time…
Won't you help to sing
This songs of freedom-
'Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs

Bob Marley

From this morning’s drive time we have the song of the day. I hope you are going slowly enough to enjoy it.

I’d also like to pass along this link to Buddha at the Gas Pump, a wonderful compendium of interviews about ordinary people waking up. I have been enjoying these stories and finding in them an aid for dropping the beliefs I hold regarding what is and isn’t possible, about what is true and not true.